Users across India who have an active bank account and a functioning debit card will now be able to pay and receive money through the latest versions of WhatsApp on iPhone & Android.
The transactions can be made and seen from the chat window itself. The attachment pin icon, through which users send documents, photos, location, and more, now also has access to the ‘Payment’ option, and use WhatsApp to pay or receive money.
The feature has been designed in partnership with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) using the Unified Payment Interface (UPI), enabling transactions with over 160 supported banks.
WhatsApp is working with ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, the State Bank of India, and Jio Payments Bank. Users can send money on WhatsApp to anyone using a UPI supported app.
The platform sends instructions to banks (payment service providers) that initiate the transfer via UPI between sender and receiver bank accounts.
While there are several established online payment apps such as Paytm, GPay, PhonePe, and more, WhatsApp Pay is not a standalone app, with a substantial active userbase on the platform and the functionality being in-app, the feature holds plenty of potential.
For instance, users would previously have a conversation about sending money to chip in for a gift, receive money owed for dinner, etc on WhatsApp, transact through an external app, then confirm if the money was received by the person again on WhatsApp, this whole process would now be streamlined on WhatsApp itself.
Safety and hygiene concerns have also been another push towards digital transactions, WhatsApp would enjoy a boost from this factor as well.
The platform also has a considerable amount of userbase in rural areas, the regions where the online payments space is still open and can be overtaken with accelerated digital adoption and growing digital literacy.
WhatsApp is also pushing online shopping on the platform with more and more features being launched to streamline setting up an online business. We may also expect an in-app checkout feature on the app.
The Facebook family of apps have made the most of circumstantial opportunities as early risers in India this year. First with the launch of Instagram Reels soon after the ban of TikTok, and now with WhatsApp Pay, during a period when the dependency on digital transactions is on the rise.